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Spotting early symptoms of ovarian cancer can save lives

Ovarian cancer patients in Georgia and elsewhere are frequently diagnosed with the disease after it has already spread, making the chances of survival remote. This is because the symptoms of this insidious cancer, often referred to as a "silent killer," can be subtle and tend to mimic other less serious conditions.

In order to increase survival rates, medical experts say women need to learn to recognize the earliest warning signs of ovarian cancer. These signs include bloating, abdominal pain, feeling full quickly when eating, frequent urination, nausea, indigestion, shortness of breath, back pain and weight gain. If a woman experiences any of these symptoms for a week or more, she should see her doctor and specifically ask about problems with her ovaries.

Though ovarian cancer is relatively rare, with only one in 75 women actually being diagnosed with the disease, experts stress that every woman is at risk. That said, certain women, including those who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, have an elevated risk of developing the disease. Luckily, there are genetic tests available that can help determine a woman's ovarian cancer risk. Meanwhile, certain lifestyle choices can reduce a woman's risk. These include eating a low-fat diet, giving birth to a child and using birth control.

Early diagnosis is critical to a woman's chances of surviving ovarian cancer. If a doctor fails to diagnose a patient's cancer, he or she could be held accountable in civil court. An attorney might be able to review a patient's case and determine if the doctor failed to provide the necessary standard of care. If so, legal counsel may recommend filing a medical malpractice lawsuit to recover damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and mental anguish.

Source: Health Day, "5 Facts Every Woman Should Know About Ovarian Cancer," Sept. 19, 2018

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